Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR's Blog
When you want to buy a home, you know that good credit will be necessary. You may have heard some things about your credit score that just aren’t true. Read on to set the record straight on some of the most significant misconceptions about credit.
Checking Your Credit Only Gives You Knowledge
Checking your credit score or report will not lower your score. The only way checking a score is damaging to a credit score is in the form of credit inquiries. This is when a lender, employer, or other merchant checks your credit in order for you to either gain employment or open a new line of credit. You have the right to review your score without it being impacted.
You Shouldn’t Carry Balances
The best way to keep a high credit score is to use a credit card and pay the balance off in full each month. It’s a false belief that carrying a balance is an excellent way to increase your credit score. You need a low debt level to maintain a good credit score.
Your Age And Income Have Nothing To Do With Your Score
It’s natural that older people who have a longer credit history have a better shot a good credit score, but your age has nothing to do with your score. It all depends on when you established credit. Some people started their credit histories early because their parents opened accounts for them. Others needed to wait awhile before opening their first credit card account.
Your income also is not a factor in determining your credit score. It may be true that if you have a higher income, it’s easier to stay out of debt, but the amount of money you make has no direct impact on your score.
You Cannot Access Your Credit Score For Free
You have a legal right to obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year but, your credit score isn't included in this report. There are free services that are outside of your credit report that will give you your credit rating, but you need to search for them. It’s a good idea to check your credit report periodically, but you should also know your score especially if you're getting ready to make a big purchase such as buying a home.
Your Credit Matters More Than You Think
While you know your credit score matters when you head to get a home loan, you may not know just how many entities take your credit into account when you apply for them. Some things you may do where your credit score matters:
Apply for a job
Apply for a credit card
Rent an apartment
Sign up for phone and Internet services
Get other utilities in your home
Your credit history gives a picture to the world to let them know if you’re financially stressed. If you have gone through rough patches, there are always ways to bring your score up. If you had a judgment ruled against you in a lawsuit, for example, that would only appear on your credit report for a certain number of years. Lenders will often allow you to explain bumps in your credit report as well. Understanding credit is half the battle to a good score!
For home sellers, staging a house can help you transform an ordinary residence into a stellar one. And even though it may seem like an expensive process to stage your property, there are many cost-effective ways to do just that.
Here are three cheap house staging ideas that every home seller needs to know.
1. Put Away Your Personal Belongings
Although you may display many treasured antiques and photographs throughout your home, you'll want to put these items in storage before you show your property to potential homebuyers.
Remember, your goal as a home seller is stir up significant interest in your residence. If you keep personal mementos on display in your house, it may be tough for homebuyers to envision what life would be like if they purchased your home.
When it comes to home staging, putting away your personal belongings is a must. Lucky for you, if you place your personal items in storage, you can boost your chances of a quick home sale. Plus, you may even be able to speed up the process of relocating to a new address, as many of your personal belongings will already be packed up and ready to go.
2. Remove Clutter
Let's face it – clutter is an eyesore that most homeowners can live without. However, many home sellers may have large book, CD or toy collections that can take up a lot of space.
Removing clutter is essential for home sellers who want to stage their residences properly. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to eliminate clutter with ease.
For example, you may want to host a yard sale before you add your house to the real estate market. A yard sale enables you to get rid of excess items as well as earn extra cash.
Or, if you are desperate to get rid of clutter quickly, you may be able to donate various items to local charities or dispose of these items altogether.
3. Clean and Deodorize Your Home
Pet odors and other unpleasant smells won't do you any favors, especially if you want your home to make a positive first impression on prospective homebuyers.
Cleaning and deodorizing your residence usually requires hard work and patience. On the other hand, you likely won't have to worry about breaking your budget to keep your property neat and tidy.
With a fresh, clean home, your residence may stand out from others in a crowded real estate market. The pleasant aromas that fill your house also can bolster your house's chances of making a positive first impression on potential homebuyers.
Staging your home may seem difficult at first, but expert real estate agents are able to help you prepare your residence for the housing market. Real estate agents can offer recommendations about how you can enhance your property quickly and effortlessly and ensure that you can stir up plenty of interest in your home as soon as it hits the real estate market.
Collaborate with a real estate agent, and ultimately, you should have no trouble staging and selling your house.
If you’re searching for a home and are looking for a deal, you may turn to homes that are listed as “For Sale By Owner.” These homes tend to be a great deal for the sellers, but not necessarily the buyer. This makes it all the more important that you hire a buyer’s agent for yourself. Your agent can check a bit of the work that the owner is doing without hiring a real estate agent for himself. When buying a for sale by owner property you’ll want to do all of the same things that you would do if you were buying a property that was for sale through a realtor including:
- Check the asking price through comps
- Get a property inspection
- Make an offer and complete contract negotiations
- Check how long the home has been on the market
Just because a home is for sale by an owner, there’s no need to give up on the normal procedures that one goes through in buying a home. You have the right to have a buyer’s agent represent you in the transaction. Beware though as some for sale by owners are not willing to pay commission to any agents including buyers‘ agents. Be sure that the contracts are clear in this area so that you don’t fall in love with a home only to find out that you can’t use your agent in the transaction.
Other Points To Consider In A For Sale By Owner Transaction
You may need to hire an attorney, especially for an estate sale or short sale.
You still need a home inspection and have the right to back out of the sale if something isn’t satisfactory about the home. The home inspection is important because it can reveal serious problems with a home such as high levels of radon, issues with the furnace, or a possible plumbing disaster waiting to happen.
You may want a C.L.U.E. Report
This type of report tells you what kind, if any, insurance claims have been made on the property in the past 5 years. The report will detail the date of the claim, the cause (if a natural disaster) and the amount that was paid to fix the damage.
You should still get pre-approved
Getting pre-approved before buying a home is just something that should be automatic for buyers. It really lets the seller know that you’re serious about purchasing a property.
Buying a for sale by owner home is the same as purchasing any other property. You’ll just need to be an informed buyer through the process in order to make sure you’re doing what’s right for you.
Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.
1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants
Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.
Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.
2. Review Your Budget
If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.
Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.
3. Learn About the Housing Market
The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.
It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.
Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.
You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.
Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.
If you recently bought or sold your home, moving day may be rapidly approaching. Fortunately, you still have time to pick up must-have supplies so you can get ready for moving day.
Now, let's take a look at three items that you should purchase prior to your upcoming move.
1. Moving Boxes
In all likelihood, you have a wide range of personal belongings that you need to pack. If you have lots of moving boxes at your disposal, you should have no trouble securing your personal belongings so you can transport them to your new address.
Home improvement and moving equipment companies often sell moving boxes in many sizes. You also may want to consider visiting a local grocery or convenience store to find moving boxes; in some instances, a grocery or convenience store may be willing to provide you with its empty food and beverage boxes free of charge.
2. Packing Supplies
In addition to moving boxes, you'll need supplies to ensure that you can pack your personal belongings safely. With packing supplies in hand, you can guarantee that your personal belongings are protected as they go from Point A to Point B.
Must-have packing supplies include bubble wrap, packaging tape, markers and labels. If you pick up these supplies today, you can move one step closer to finalizing your moving day preparations.
3. Snacks and Beverages
Oftentimes, moving day can be hectic, even for those who allocate significant time and resources to prepare for the big day. As such, it sometimes is easy to forget to eat and stay hydrated as you try to bring all of your personal belongings to your new address.
For those who want to do everything possible to prep for moving day, it generally is a good idea to pick up snacks and beverages. Granola bars, trail mix and other portable snacks are ideal for moving day. Meanwhile, purchasing bottled water and other beverages is beneficial too.
If you need extra help with moving day preparations, you may want to consult with a professional moving company as well. A moving company goes above and beyond the call of duty to help individuals map out all aspects of the moving day process.
A moving company employs friendly, knowledgeable moving experts who can guide you through your move. Plus, the company can offer packing guidance, moving services and other support to ensure that you can seamlessly relocate to your new address.
Lastly, for those who will need to move soon, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you buy or sell a house in any city or town, at any time. Furthermore, a real estate agent is available to provide support at each stage of the homebuying or home selling journey. And if you are uncertain about how to proceed along the homebuying or home selling journey, a real estate agent is happy to provide plenty of assistance.